Jan. 1 - The world's first state-licensed marijuana retailers legally permitted to sell pot for recreational use to the general public opened for business. Jillian Kitchener reports.
Colorado was buzzing with excitement as patrons lined up to take advantage of legalized pot purchases. Possession, cultivation and private personal consumption of marijuana was already legal in Colorado. But as of January 1st, cannabis can also be legally produced, sold and taxed -- in a system similar to what many states have in place for alcohol sales. The model for marijuana exists nowhere in the world outside of Colorado. Iraq war veteran Sean Azzariti was the first customer at Denver's Discreet Dispensary. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IRAQ WAR VETERAN, SEAN AZZARITI, SAYING: "It helps alleviate my symptoms of PTSD. I'd rather use cannabis than benzodiazepines, Xanax... it's a lot more safer in my opinion. It just helps me a lot. And I feel like I have a duty to help other people and try to spread this positive message." PTSD is not covered under Colorado's medical marijuana law. But the state's new Amendment 64 allows people like Azzariti to buy recreational pot without a prescription. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CO-DIRECTOR OF YES ON 64, MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT, MASON AVERT SAYING: "Lawmakers and voters around this country are watching what's happening here and they are very interested in following the lead and taking similar actions and adopting similar laws. And I'm confident that these businesses will perform and be good examples of how we can regulate marijuana." Colorado officials expect the cannabis market will gross close to $600 million in annual revenues. So Colorado retailers are rolling up their sleeves, and rolling out their product.